Lately I’ve been watching, HBO’s drama series, Rome, where you slowly watch the power struggle of all the players responsible for the downfall of the Roman empire. The show is intriguing and a Hollywood take at a historical lesson. It’s funny that the show makes parallels to modern times. For instance, there was a scene in last night’s episode where nobility smoked hash out of pipes, saying it was the good ish from Macedonia.
And as funny as Hollywood draws on the parallels of America and Rome, so does this writer from the Weekend Economist “Quaerere Verum” . In his most recent post he describes new parallels of modern America and declining Rome.
According to George Magnus, Senior Economic Advisor to UBS Investment Bank, a new silk road has emerged through the trade of hydrocarbons, petrodollars and consumer goods. At the heart of this petrodollar economic system lies China; a net consumer of half of the world’s oil. The capital flows along the road are immense and by no means constitute a one way flow towards the dollar surplus oil economies of the Middle East. These very intense petrodollar fueled trade relationships are at the core of the rebirth of a new silk road. In fact, the new Silk Road is nothing more than a catch phrase for the growing and intensifying economic chains between the Middle East and Asia.
I may not need to watch the HBO series after all. It seems that the decline is just as apparent in reality as it is in history books and on TV. China develops new trade relationships to balance against heavy American consumerism. It’s a wake up call that the plush life we have it may not be here forever.